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Supporting the development of the bilingual lexicon through translanguaging: a realist review integrating psycholinguistics with educational sciences

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Abstract

In this review, we evaluate the claim that translanguaging in the classroom supports the development of the bilingual lexicon by enhancing cross-linguistic transfer. To address this issue, we integrate findings from psycholinguistics and educational sciences in order to identify how effective pedagogical practices for monolingual children can be extended to pedagogical practices for bilingual children. We show that both monolingual and bilingual children benefit from teaching strategies that strengthen the mental connections between semantically and phonologically related words, and that for bilingual children, these strategies should support both within- and cross-language connections. We argue that by stimulating the use of the home language in the classroom, translanguaging strategies like multilingual label quests and multilingual reading and writing can strengthen cross-language connections and, thereby, facilitate cross-linguistic lexical transfer. For closely related languages, stimulation of the home language has the additional benefit of implicitly facilitating the transfer of cognate vocabulary. Explicit instruction about cognates could further stimulate the development of cognate awareness, but whether it also enhances vocabulary learning is still an open question.

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Conceptualization and original idea: EBo, EBl; literature search: EBo, LZ; writing and original draft preparation: EBo; writing, review, and editing: EBo, EBl, AB, LZ.

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Correspondence to Evelyn Bosma.

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Current themes of research and most relevant publications

Evelyn Bosma is a postdoctoral researcher. She investigates the relationship between bilingualism and cognition, mainly among Frisian-Dutch bilingual children.

Blom, E., Bosma, E., & Heeringa, W. (2021). Regular and irregular inflection in different groups of bilingual children and the role of verbal short-term and verbal working memory. Languages, 6(1), 56. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010056

Bosma, E., & Pablos, L. (2020). Switching direction modulates the engagement of cognitive control in bilingual reading comprehension: an ERP study. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 55, 100894. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroling.2020.100894

Bosma, E., & Nota, N. (2020). Cognate facilitation in Frisian–Dutch bilingual children’s sentence reading: An eye-tracking study. Journal of experimental child psychology, 189, 104699. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104699

Arthur Bakker is an associate professor with an interest in multilingualism, boundary crossing, and embodied cognition in Mathematics and Science Education.

Abdu, R., van Helden, G., Alberto, R., & Bakker, A. (2021). Multimodal dialogue in small-group mathematics learning. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 29, 100491. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lcsi.2021.100491

Bakker, A., Cai, J., & Zenger, L. (2021). Future themes of mathematics education research: an international survey before and during the pandemic. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 107(1), 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-021-10049-w

Draijer, J., Bakker, A., Slot, E., & Akkerman, S. (2020). The Multidimensional Structure of Interest. Frontline Learning Research, 8(4), 18-36. https://doi.org/10.14786/flr.v8i4.577

Linda Zenger is a researcher with interest in multilingualism, STEM education, and issues concerning sustainability and equality.

Bakker, A., Cai, J., & Zenger, L. (2021). Future themes of mathematics education research: an international survey before and during the pandemic. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 107(1), 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-021-10049-w

Elma Blom is Professor of language development and multilingualism in family and educational context.

Blom, E., Soto-Corominas, A., Attar, Z. Daskalaki, E., & Paradis, J. (in press). Interdependence between L1 and L2: the case of Syrian children with refugee backgrounds in Canada and the Netherlands. Applied Psycholinguistics.

Francot, R., Blom, E., Broekhuizen, M., & Leseman, P. (2021). Profiles of bilingualism in early childhood: A person-centred Latent Profile Transition Approach. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 24(3), 569-582. https://doi.org/doi:10.1017/S1366728920000383

Ticheloven, A., Blom, E., Leseman, P., & McMonagle, S. (2019). Translanguaging challenges in multilingual classrooms: scholar, teacher and student perspectives. International Journal of Multilingualism, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/14790718.2019.1686002

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Bosma, E., Bakker, A., Zenger, L. et al. Supporting the development of the bilingual lexicon through translanguaging: a realist review integrating psycholinguistics with educational sciences. Eur J Psychol Educ 38, 225–247 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-021-00586-6

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